‘American Made’ Review: Cruise Redeems Himself As The Guy Who ‘Always Delivers’ [Opinion]

Tom Cruise’s American Made is already poised to become his redemption film for 2017, after his remake of The Mummy flopped in theaters in June. In this new caper film directed by Doug Liman, Cruise plays Barry Seal, the commercial pilot-turned-CIA operative who became a drug smuggler.

American Made’s highs and lows take one quick turn after another. Cruise’s Barry Seal starts as a TWA pilot with a small-scale smuggling business on the side. He is then approached by CIA agent Schaefer, portrayed by The Revenant’s Domhnall Gleeson, who offers him a more lucrative job to serve his country. The job entails him flying a propeller plane over rebel bases in Central and South America to take pictures of commie headquarters.

Although it covers a serious subject matter, Liman and Cruise manage to make light of things and deliver a film that could elicit laughs and, at the same time, maintain the thrill of the adventure. While the film claims to be based on real events, some parts of the film had viewers asking how it’s even possible.

For one, Cruise’s portrayal of Barry is almost too likable. For a character who seems to be driven by greed and doesn’t question a lot of things he’s being pushed into, he almost seems relatable. In the movie, Barry is always up for the ride, no matter how dangerous the circumstances are, and is always ready deliver goods for different masters. At one point in the film, Barry earns the nickname the gringo who “always delivers.”


One issue some viewers noticed with American Made is how it depicts the CIA as a very shady entity that’s willing to disregard Barry’s drug smuggling as long as he can deliver some guns to the Contras in Nicaragua. Barry’s work is one big, complicated operation involving several big, complicated operations.

Aside from the fact that American Made mirror’s a real-life story, there’s also one other thing that’s real in the film — Tom Cruise’s flying ability. The actor himself is a real-life pilot, which even impressed his co-star and onscreen love interest, Sarah Wright Olsen.

“I actually flew with Tom in the movie and he’s an incredible pilot,” the 33-year-old actress told People.

She added that the production put importance on safety on set, especially after three stunt pilots died while filming the movie.


Liman told Yahoo U.K. that Cruise himself did some of the flying on the film, including one insane “hair-raising” scene where he left the cockpit without anyone manning the plane. In this particular scene, Barry puts the plane on autopilot and goes to the back of the plane to dump out cocaine.

American Made is one gorgeous yet outrageous adventure with a lot of laughs and, of course, a lot of Tom Cruise’s never-fading charisma.

[Featured Image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]